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Simple Tools That Maximize Online Marketing Efforts
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Establishing an effective online marketing presence can be time-consuming and overwhelming, especially if you have a small staff. Here are some quick, simple, and free or affordable online tools that help maximize the results of your online marketing strategies. They’re proof that taking the right shortcuts can be a good thing for growing your business.

If You Want to Establish a Basic E-commerce Site

If you’re getting ready to launch an e-commerce site, Volusion and Shopify are two good beginner-friendly platforms. Both offer free 14-day trials, and Shopify sites can be optimized for mobile devices, an increasingly important feature. Another good tool for creating a mobile e-commerce site is Jigoshop, a WordPress plug-in that offers customizable designs.

According to Google, 75% of customers prefer a mobile-friendly site, so much so that if they cannot quickly find what they are looking for, 61% will move on to another site. Whereas mobile sites used to be a “nice to have,” they are quickly becoming essential to e-commerce.

If You Want to Listen Better to Your Audience

Google Alerts is an easy tool that monitors the web for new content based on the keywords and phrases you tell it to look for. Set alerts for your business name, competitors, and industry keywords and then get email updates with the latest relevant Google results. It’s an invaluable tool for keeping up with what your customers are saying about your business, your competition, and recent trends—and, even better, it’s free.

Another great online tool is Followerwonk, which lets you learn more about your Twitter followers. It pulls information from their bios and puts keywords into a word cloud, allowing you to prioritize the content you share on Twitter.

For a broader view of online conversations, Technorati curates and ranks digital-media sources from across the web. On its homepage, you can find the top blogs, tags, and videos as well as the hottest blogosphere items. You can also search for blogs by category.

If You Want to Get the Most Out of Social Media

Crowdbooster doesn’t just give you analytics information, it also tells you how to put it to good use. The site recommends ways to reach important influencers, create content that resonates with your audience, and send that content out at the most effective times. Besides analyzing each tweet and post, Crowdbooster also provides a breakdown of your fans, allowing you to directly engage those who are most active.

If you want to encourage customer engagement more explicitly, you can offer your customers rewards for spreading the word about your business and promotions through SocialToaster.

Online marketing can be challenging, sure, but there are plenty of tools out there that help make it easier and cheaper to do and do well. All it takes is some time, some creativity, and the right tools!

Samantha CarlinManager of Marketing Communications, Groupon
Samantha is an expert on small business advertising and manager of marketing communications on Groupon’s Merchant Marketing team. She contributes regularly to the Groupon Merchant Blog. Previously, Samantha worked at an airport security start-up.
www.GrouponWorks.com | Groupon Merchant Blog | @GrouponWorks | More from Samantha

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